Nokia brings LTE-capable Lumia 900 to AT&T, stays mum on other U.S. carriers

LAS VEGAS--Nokia (NYSE:NOK) unveiled its latest smartphone running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software, the LTE-capable Lumia 900 for AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Nokia's first LTE device and one of the first LTE Windows Phones.

Nokia Lumia 900 LTE AT&T

Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T

At the company's packed press conference here during the Consumer Electronics Show, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop did not discuss any other carriers Nokia may be working with in the United States as it seeks to re-enter the market after having a negligible presence for years. When asked directly if Nokia will partner with other carriers, and in particular Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) for its LTE network, Elop said: "Clearly it's our aspiration to reach out to as many consumers as we can in the American market." (Nokia has also partnered with T-Mobile USA to sell the mid-range Lumia 710, which goes on sale Jan. 11 for for $49.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.)

Elop said that AT&T will launch the Lumia in the coming months, and though he did not provide specific availability or pricing, he said that Nokia intends to "enter the U.S. market aggressively."

The Lumia 900 has a 1.4 GHz processor, presumably from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), which has supplied the silicon for all of Nokia's Windows Phone devices thus far. The device also sports a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, and will have both a rear camera and front-facing camera for a video chatting application, which Kevin Shields, Nokia's senior vice president of program and product management for Windows Phone, said was a Tango video app. Although the device does not include support for Near Field Communications, Elop said he is keen to add the technology to Nokia's Windows Phones.

The Lumia 900 has several unique apps, including Nokia Drive, the company's turn-by-turn mapping app; ESPN's sports hub app; a Univision app that will be exclusive to Nokia Lumia users in the U.S. and Puerto Rico for 18 months, delivering unique and exclusive Spanish-language content; and a partnership with Electronic Arts to bring over 20 games to the Nokia Lumia devices before other Windows Phones.

Nokia has so far introduced its Lumia products in Europe as well as in several Asian markets, including Hong Kong, India, Russia and Singapore, Elop said. The Nokia chief said the company is establishing "beachheads" for its products. "From that beachhead you will see us move forward with the sales, marketing and successive product introductions," he said, adding: "There is much more we can do in this battle."

Elop acknowledged that Nokia has to fight against the established positions Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS have carved out in the U.S. market, and that a key part of that battle would be in carrier-owned stores. Elop said Nokia needs to work closely with its carrier partners to make sure consumers are being introduced to Nokia's Windows Phone devices, but did not disclose any specific promotional activity or incentives AT&T would have to sell the Lumia 900.  

Elop also talked about Nokia's potential tablet plans. He has said in the past that Nokia would not enter the tablet market unless it could do something "uniquely Nokia." When asked what that meant, he said that Nokia wants to ensure differentiation in terms of design, optics for cameras, location-based services and other aspects of the tablet experience. He said that if Nokia believes that it has a unique combination of these attributes it would consider moving into the tablet market and into other products as well.

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Correction, Jan. 10, 2011: This article originally incorrectly stated that Nokia's Kevin Shields was referring to a "Tango" version of Windows Phone software. he was instead referring to a Tango video chat application.